While beauty packaging has become increasingly innovative in terms of sustainability, improvements can still be made for more accessible design for people with disabilities. One in five adults in the U.S. possess a disability, whether said disability affects one’s hands, neck, vision and so on. How can someone with arthritis open a small mascara tube, or twist up a deodorant stick? How can someone with low vision differentiate between two eyeshadow palettes of the same size and shape?
Novi Connect, a marketplace for unique packaging design and manufacturing, offers the following tips, thanks to “blind beauty influencer” Molly Burke, on how to diversify packaging to make it more inclusive. Here’s how to implement disability-friendly elements in your packaging:
1. Braille is Not the Only Answer
While Braille allows visually impaired people to read product labels, less than 10% of legally blind persons can actually read it. Brands can create a set of easily identifiable, tactile symbols. They don’t necessarily have to be universal, and they can be specific to your brand.
2. Have Fun with Textures
Beauty brands often release similar products in the same packaging, and opt for changing the visual design to differentiate items of the same line, or items in a new release. Maintaining uniformity is important to a brand’s story, and also cost-effective as they work with packaging suppliers and manufacturers. So how does one tell the difference between products that use the same packaging? The answer: create texture.
3. Enough With the Round Bottles
Quick disclaimer: there’s nothing inherently wrong with round packaging. However, it can be a source of challenges for disabled people. For one, items can roll away when knocked over, and people with visual impairments may not be able to see where it lands on the floor. Second, round caps without handles may be difficult to grasp and twist for those with limited hand dexterity. Rethink shapes.
4. Accessibility Goes Beyond Packaging
Of course, accessibility in the beauty industry goes beyond just packaging: website audio tours, fragranced products and much more. The best way to ensure inclusion is to hire and consult people with disabilities during your product design process. As with all initiatives for inclusivity, solutions to create more accessibility with beauty products should come from the voices of those within the community. Engage with people with disabilities.
Although the beauty industry has come a long way, we still need to create better access and consider the needs of all consumers — for the benefit of both consumers and businesses.